The iPhone 4’s front-facing camera isn’t just hanging out to help you take self-portrait pics, it’s hanging out to help you do some good ole fashioned 2-way video calling – Apple calls it “FaceTime.” Thanks to some technical jiggering of the iPhone OS, excuse us, iOS 4, the iPhone 4 and all future Apple phones with front-facing cameras will allow you to get in touch with your friends and family on a more personal level.
Video calling has been around for a while (and made more famous recently on the Sprint HTC EVO 4G), but it took Apple’s attention to intuitive usability and “just worksness” to potentially take 2-way vid calls to a new level. The “FaceTime” feature (face-time, get it?) is as easy to use as making a phone call. If you happen to be calling a friend with an iPhone 4, you’ll be given the option to switch the call into video-call mode at the tap of a finger. Literally. Just one tap.
From there, you can get your FaceTime on any way you please. If you want to go face-to-face, use the front-facing camera. Or, if you’d like to show your buddy the goings-on on the other side of the handset, you can use the rear-facing camera. The primary shooter is capable of recording HD 720p video, but you won’t get any HD quality video chats. At least, not yet.
The FaceTime video chat software will automatically switch your video stream between landscape and portrait mode, depending on how you tilt the iPhone 4. Landscape mode is better for showing off scenery and your backdrop. Portrait mode is obviously more suited for regular video calls.
FaceTime is a WiFi-only feature for the time being. But it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be able to get all up in an iPhone 4 owner’s face.